Andy Smith

Freelance Illustrator.

What was your key motivation in becoming an illustrator?

When I was younger I knew I wanted to do something to do with art and at Art College I got shuffled into the illustration department. It was the right place to end up for me; I like to have some kind of brief or idea to work from and an end ‘product’.

Know your Onions- Screenprinted wooden sign, personal work

What have been the benefits of becoming a part of an Illustration Agency to you?

I have agents that represent me in France, Italy and the US. The agents do a much better job of showing my work, getting jobs and then pricing them than I could in these territories and thats before all the language problems!

I handle everything else and thats mainly the UK where the majority of my work comes from. I know some illustrators like to concentrate on creating the images and let an agent handle all the pricing, portfolios, promo stuff etc but I quite enjoy it and feel its all part of the job.

Karlisms- Page from The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington

What was your first break as an illustrator?

My first big break was illustrating a book for Saatchi and Saatchi. I put a lot of effort into showing my portfolio when I left college and that gave me quite a few jobs. I can remember standing in a phone box and making up a price off the top of my head, I didn’t have a clue what to charge. A phone box! This was pre- mobile!

Cadburys Miniroll- Poster

What are the first three steps you take when you are asked to complete a commission?

Get the brief and try and make sure I have a clear idea of what they’re after. Agree a fee. Then add it to my to do list, if its urgent and I can find my highlighting pen it may also get the fluoro treatment

Having exhibited in the UK, USA, France and Australia, how important was this for your career?

I think exhibiting wherever possible is great but the main thing is to keep doing new work, not work for clients but for yourself and usually this is the stuff thats exhibited or sold. It definitely keeps my portfolio fresh but also keeps me interested and means I’m not repeating myself, which can happen a bit when you’re working for clients and they all like the same piece in your portfolio. It’s good to have a bit of a clear out sometimes and add in some new work.

Lose the Blues- Illustration for Waitrose Magazine

Who and what keeps you motivated?

I like the challenge each new job presents- whether it’s for a client or something I’m doing for myself. Its like being given a problem thats got to be solved and that’s what I enjoy.

7th March 2014

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